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How much do you involve yourself in your children's friendships?

(9 Posts)
Kirlyovie Wed 29-Jun-11 20:23:50

I'm a bit concerned about what my dd's friend is saying to her and would appreciate some advice on how to handle this.

DD(6) is quite shy and is not very good at making new friends so she really only plays with this little boy and one other child. They became good friends when they were around 4 and as we had moved abroad, I was relieved that she had found someone to play with. He is quite shy himself, particularly around adults, so I can't really see what he is like but I always thought of him as very sweet.

However he has been saying some things that aren't very nice - a while ago she was extremely upset because he told her to stop looking at him. We just put it down to him being shy & not liking being looked at - but then today she said that he has been saying other things: he doesn't like playing with just her as he finds it boring, that she is only his number 3 as a friend. We talked about it a bit and she said that when they play games, they don't take turns as he always wants to go first and that for e.g. she always helps him find things but he doesn't help her. It seems like this has being going on for a while now.

I'm not sure how to help her - I know that children can fall out each another and be friends the next day so I don't want to make a huge deal of it, but it is upsetting her and I'd like her to figure out that being friends means being nice to each other. I do wonder whether he has outgrown the friendship and I should encourage her to make new friends instead - or whether that is interfering too much?

Morloth Thu 30-Jun-11 04:31:52

Just tell her she doesn't have to play with him if she doesn't want to.

I don't get involved at all.

SittingBull Thu 30-Jun-11 04:44:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFrogs Thu 30-Jun-11 05:07:52

Well in an ideal world our children would all be perfect and get on brilliantly, sadly it isn't an ideal world and this sounds like pretty normal behaviour to me. My 7 year old is sweet and shy but can also be very bossy (I know, figure that one out!) and i'm sure she annoys her best pal at times...her best pal annoys her at times too for different reasons.

We have to put up with an awful lot here from neighbours kids, far, far worse believe me.

swash Thu 30-Jun-11 14:21:47

I would definitely help her to make new friends so that she is not dependent on one other child, especially as she seems to be the junior partner in the relationship. And I would talk strategies through with her to help her deal with any difficulties. Just learning how to say 'That is not kind' can help. Teach your little girl to do something by herself if he is being a bit mean - backing off can be a very good skill to learn.

I don't class that as interfering - we all need strategies to deal with relationships that are tricky.

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 30-Jun-11 14:29:28

I don't get involved, even though I don't like some of DS's friends. All you can do is your best to make sure your DD knows she can come to you and discuss these things with you and that you will not get cross/tell her what to do (do not say "don't play with him anymore").

It's hard, I know, but children need to learn to work these things out themselves, all we can do is be there for them while they do. Anyway, most of this stuff is like water off a duck's back for kids and I'm sure your DD can also be tactless and unhelpful sometimes.

bigTillyMint Thu 30-Jun-11 18:05:37

I would
a) keep right out of their friendship / disagreements - children need to learn how to fall out and make up on their own and will learn to do this if they are not too over-protected
b)encourage her to build a wider circle of friends - he is a boy and she is a girl and it may well be that their interests are diversifying as they get older

Being friends is about being nice to each other, but children also need to learn how to not expect everything to go their way all the time, and also how not to be a wimp/pushover, etc otherwise, ultimately other children will not like them.

mollythetortoise Thu 30-Jun-11 21:18:50

agree to keep out of it but encourage her to play with others.. does she like any little girls in her class? invite them for tea.
I had a similar thing with my dd (although with another girl). I think it is an age thing and something some kids do but grow out of. my dd did start playing with others and is now friends with that particular child but not "best" friends. I also agree that by 6 plus , girls and boys do separate their friendships and so they prob won't continue playing together anyway

Kirlyovie Thu 30-Jun-11 22:13:30

Thanks for the replies. I think what is worrying me is that she appears too dependent on this other child's friendship - the junior partner in the relationship as you said swash - and maybe because of this getting pushed around a bit. At home she is very capable of standing up for herself, but away from home, she doesn't have the same self-confidence.

We talked a bit about it with her this evening - how it could be nice to have more friends to play with so that she could play lots of different games. She got quite upset that she didn't have anyone else to play with - there are other girls that she likes but she said that she didn't know how to make friends with girls, only with boys.

Was a bit surprised by this - I thought that at this age (6) girls & boys made friends in the same way, but then I can't remember how I made friends when I was 6. Its true that she isn't a girly girl, into princesses etc but I don't think that all girls are? Anyway have seen a book mentioned somewhere on Mumsnet about making friends - if anyone can recommend one (for girls), would be appreciated.

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